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Robert VAN BUREN Obituary

Robert Van Buren, 89, Banker, Port Authority Commissioner, World War II Veteran and Philanthropist, on August 20, 2014 in West Palm Beach, FL. A descendant of President Martin Van Buren, he was born in Plainfield, NJ to Dorothy Way and William Benjamin Van Buren II. Mr. Van Buren married Ann Vanderveer Rapalje, a descendant of Joris Jansen Rapalje, the French Huguenot, and they were married sixty years until her death in 2006. Mr. Van Buren started his banking career at the Chemical Bank in New York City rising to Executive Vice President. After 20 years, he moved to Midlantic Bank in New Jersey, as President, then Chairman of the Board. He led Midlantic to become New Jersey's largest bank, and prior to his retirement helped orchestrate its sale to the PNC Financial Services Group. Mr. Van Buren oversaw the financing of Atlantic City's first casino, Resorts international, and became well-known through the company's innovative advertising campaign as "The Hungry Banker". He was appointed by Governor Thomas Kean as Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, serving fifteen years. He also served on the Board of Directors of Champion Products, Inc., the Foster Wheeler Corp., MGM Grand Corp., Smith-Corona Corp., and was President of the Board of the Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, where he and his wife established the Van Buren Intensive Care Unit. Mr. Van Buren retired to Palm Beach, Florida where he continued his philanthropy through the Van Buren Family Foundation, supporting the Society of the Four Arts (Chairman's Forum), the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Civic Association, and the Royal Poinciana Chapel. He was a member of the Everglades Club and Club Colette. Mr. Van Buren is survived by his children Marcia Van Buren - Brown and her husband Thomas W. Brown; Cynthia Way Rapalje Van Buren, Esq.; Robert Scott Van Buren; brother William Benjamin Van Buren III, several nieces and nephews, and his companion Martha Janet Utterback of Palm Beach Gardens, FL. A memorial service will be held at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, 714 Watchung Ave., Plainfield, NJ on Saturday, September 6th at 3:00PM. Arrangements are by Memorial Funeral Home in Fanwood, NJ (908-322-4350). For additional information or to sign the guestbook, visit www.fanwoodmemorial.com.

To express condolences and/or make donations: Visit PalmBeachPost.com/obituaries
Published in The Palm Beach Post from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2014
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